Sigh. Nearly a week has gone by since my last chapter post. I blame the recurring strep throat around here and the lovely weekend weather that had me out of doors for two days straight, playing in dirt and planting things. I actually finished the chapter back on Thursday, but just haven't had time to post about it. Sigh.
Anyway, isn't Denethor hideous? That description of him at the beginning of this chapter is so perfect and awful: "an old patient spider" (p. 788). Blech. It's amazing Boromir and Faramir turned out so well, with a creep like that for a dad. Probably he neglected them a lot when they were kids. Lucky them.
Should I quick mention how sweet it is that Pippin remembers liking Boromir "from the first, admiring the great man's lordly but kindly manner" (p. 792)? Yes, it seems I should. It's the fondest, nicest thing anyone says about Boromir, I think.
Gandalf continues to make me smile at odd moments. When he's explaining things to Pippin again, for instance, and says, "But what?... Only one but will I allow tonight" (p. 796). I need to remember that line and use it with my kids.
Plus, Gandalf gets one of the most chilling lines in the book. He calls the Lord of the Nazgul "a spear of terror in the hand of Sauron" (p. 800). Ooooh. Isn't that brilliant? Makes my hair stand on end even now as I flip through the chapter.
I'd forgotten that the outside of Minas Tirith was "like to the Tower of Orthanc, hard and dark and smooth" (p. 804). Doggoned movies get into my head and replace the book descriptions sometimes.
Oh yes! The word 'fey' crops up again. This time it's describing Denethor. Pippin tells Beregond that Denethor "is fey and dangerous" (p. 809), and that's more of the usage I'm used to -- doesn't it seem like Pippin is saying he's unbalanced? Not functioning in the realm of reality anymore?
And is there any chapter in any book that ends so magnificently? With Gandalf squaring off with the Lord of the Nazgul, telling him in effect that he Shall. Not. Pass. The Black Rider laughs, Gandalf stands firm, and then... oh my goodness, I'm choking up as I re-read it. I had tears rolling down my face when I read this ending last week, chills racing up and down me. "Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin's sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last" (p. 811). That's it, I am tearing in again.
"Stir not the bitterness in the cup that I mixed for myself," said Denethor (p. 795).
"Comfort me not with wizards!" said Denethor (p. 805).
Possible Discussion Questions:
Gandalf describes Aragorn a "able to take his own counsel" (p. 797). Hasn't Denethor been taking his own counsel? What's the difference between the two?